Since 1972, the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action (NAHSA) has been dedicating the month of May to raise awareness about hearing loss, which affects 1.5 billion people worldwide. From 2024 on, the event will be known as National Speech-Language-Hearing Month.
Why is This Significant?
Across the world, 430 million people have disabling hearing loss. In the U.S., around 15% of adults have reported experiencing some form of hearing loss. Deafness and hearing loss are not isolated issues and affect nearly 20% of people worldwide. It’s projected that by 2050, more than 700 million people could be living with disabling hearing loss.
With noise exposure-related hearing loss on the rise, the World Health Organization introduced new standards for safe listening levels in 2022. There’s also been a surge in speech delays among children post-pandemic, and a rising population that will experience age-related hearing loss. These issues underline the necessity of raising awareness around speech, language, and hearing health.
The shift from “Better Speech and Hearing Month” to “National Speech-Language-Hearing Month” is an intentional move to remove the word “better.” This term can unintentionally pass judgment on those living with hearing loss or communication disorders, possibly undermining their value and skills. Nonetheless, the core objectives of this observance remain the same—to inform the public about communication disorders and spotlight preventive measures and potential treatments.
What To Look For
Each year, NAHSA runs digital campaigns and Public Service Announcements (PSAs), disseminating information via online platforms and makes downloadable resources in two languages available. These initiatives are designed to reach and engage millions of people. As the only organization focusing solely on public education about communication health, NAHSA acts as the consumer affiliate of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. You can participate in National Speech-Language-Hearing Month by reaching out to community centers like Lakewood Community Center for information about local events or organizations.
To learn more about your hearing health or to schedule a hearing test for yourself or a family member, please reach out to Vero Beach Community Center to set up an appointment..